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Ensnared (Splintered Series #3): Splintered Book Three Hardcover – January 6, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Alyssa may have survived the epic battle at end of Unhinged (Abrams, 2014), but things are still looking grim. Her mom is trapped in Wonderland while both of her love interests, human Jeb and magical Morpheus, are stuck in AnyElsewhere, a horrifying in-between world full of outcasts and mutants. Accompanied by her father, Alyssa must prepare to do final battle with the Red Queen while rescuing her loves. But when it turns out that Jeb and Morpheus have their own agendas, Alyssa is heartbroken by each in turn, leaving her unhinged as she enters the final ordeal. Though the story is convoluted and the writing overblown, this series has gained traction among teens. Fans are highly invested in the Morpheus-Alyssa-Jeb love triangle, and most should be happy with how Howard resolves the series. Librarians feeding a strong interest in goth-fantasy-romances may wish to take a second look at the trilogy. Otherwise, this conclusion is recommended only where the first books were popular.—Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA
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We pretty much pickup where we left off, Alyssa and her father want to return to Wonderland and rescue her mother, Jeb and Morpheus, though the boys are trapped in AnyElsewhere, a different place entirely from what I was able to gather, since the gates to Wonderland are completely closed off. But first, Alyssa wants to help her father get his memories back, and that is their first task.
Their journey then takes them to AnyElsewhere where they do find Jeb and Morpheus, but Jeb has changed. He's been affected greatly by the prom ordeal and it's left him forever changed--to say the least. Worse yet, he wants nothing to do with Alyssa anymore. Morpheus is more than happy to see Alyssa again and will welcome her into his arms, if only she'd take that first step.
It seems for the entire novel, Alyssa debates with herself who she should be with; rule Wonderland--once they rescue it and rid themselves of Red--with Morpheus at her side or return to the human world and live her days out with Jeb? She can't decide, she wants both lives because she truly loves both guys. And this is where she irritates me. I guess I'm just a fan of monogamy. I don't believe a person can love two people and want to be with those two people. One or the other has to mean something more to you. But then, Alyssa isn't quite normal herself. She has always had two sides to herself; the human side who grew to love Jeb and the side that has been won over by Wonderland which in turns loves Morpheus.
It's truly a tangled web. While I get that she has two sides to herself, I still don't like her indecisiveness. It's just likely a personal thing I have with the story.
I was also expecting maybe a bit more with the ending. Something to just jump right off the pages and have my heart racing. While things were intense, I felt like the resolution just kind of came about with a snap. There's still conflict and all that, but the resolution just came along too easily for me.
The pacing to the story was great though! There's several steps into this journey and getting to a happy ending is going to take work and time. Though, it's hard to say what this ending is. I mean, I could use adjectives, but then I feel like I might lead you to think spoilery thoughts! Though I have to say, I could see the ending coming. I was hoping to be wrong, I usually am in most things, but leave it to fate that I'd be right about something I hoped to be wrong about!
Howard has created quite the magical world here! I loved how she took a beloved classic and totally twisted it around and around! You don't see much of the Alice in Wonderland tale here precisely, you have to look deep between the words in order for it to be there! But even then, we see things that we never knew possible! I loved how magical this series has been and exciting! There were some down sides to it as well, but it was a most remarkable read!
Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars--I just can quite call it a 4 star read, but it's definitely better than a 3.5. Hence I must use the ever awkward fraction star review!
There were so many feels happening in this book.
I spent the first few chapters or so chewing on my nails waiting to hear something, anything, about Morpheus and Jeb.
We learn more about Alyssa's dad and his family line and all that is interesting and stuff but...in the back of my mind I was stuck on the boys. I tried to focus, I did.
Finally, FINALLY, we get to the boys and man, things just start to get so twisted. Alyssa is a little cray-cray, Morpheus is still his cunning and conniving self, and Jeb, well Jeb is angsty and now has some magic of his own.
The way Alyssa seems to be literally splitting in two from Red's doing she is also split between her netherling side and human side over Morpheus and Jeb. My heart hurt for her it really did, but to me there wasn't ever a choice. #teammorpheus
In total Howard style she, well really Jeb, has created some creeptastic creatures in Ensnared. I loved the whole vibe of the book and the set up of the world. I think we finally get answers to smaller things from the start of the series. Things were pieced together and the puzzle was finally able to be seen as a whole.
The adventure was definitely NOT lacking. Reuniting with all the characters made my heart pitter patter. I loved the Wonderland that Howard created. Following Alyssa through this book was more nerve wracking knowing we would find our end. . .
I am sad, so sad, to see this series end.
Which leaves the ending...
I had begun seeing mixed responses from readers all over (even my best friend) before I finished the book. I even stopped and read another book to prolong my feels. I am going to state my opinion on the matter. I think the ending felt like more of a copout than anything. I understand the author wanting to please her readers and in this case Howard had to please the masses swarming to either Morpheus or Jeb. Don't get me wrong the set up she wrote to achieve the outcome was brilliant and I applaud her but the ending felt wrong in some ways. Some say it was the perfect ending...because they all three (Alyssa, Jeb and Morpheus) win. Well, it's fine and dandy to think of it that way but reality is she was getting the best of both worlds and I think that wasn't fair to either guy. How could she fully give herself to one or the other? She couldn't, not really, not fully. In some way they all did get their happily ever after and maybe that's the way I should see it. I'm still trying to see it that way.
Overall, it was a great series and I'd read it all over again given the chance and knowing what I know. I look forward to any other work Howard pay put out and hope to everything that we get to glimpse Wonderland once more. perhaps with an offspring of Alyssa and Jeb's? Or through the eyes of her son with Morpheus?